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Exclusive: Nigeria faces a deficit of health specialists with the suspended residency program

Published by Daily Trust on Fri, 29 Aug 2014

Nigeria could face a shortage in its number of medical specialists in as little as six years, if its suspension of residency training programme holds, experts have said.Dr Nasiru Abdullahi, former president of the National Association of Resident Doctors, told Daily Trust in an exclusive interview: 'The truth of the matter is that in the next six years, when the current consultants retire, if this suspension still holds till then, that means we will not have any more specialists.'Nigerian Medical Association, which called off its strike last Monday, insists it is in talks with government to rescind its suspension of residency training programme.More funding for residency was among points raised by the association in its endless confrontation with government.But government's suspension of the programme has sparked the fury of the medical community, which believes young doctors are under outright attack and would be unable to replace the estimated 3,000 specialists currently serving Nigeria's 170 million population.Nearly all accredited institutions with residency programmes are government run, and their suspension could threaten the existence of such programmes with certain death.'That is the meaning,' said Dr Abdullahi. 'Not only that, the National Postgraduate Medical College, what would now be their function' The West African College of physicians, the Nigerian component, what will be their function' That is tantamount to waste of resources because people there will still be earning salaries and doing nothing. All the appointments, the budgeting'nothing.
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